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  • Multnomah Channel Wetland Restoration Monitoring Project


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fish Ecology FE - Estuarine and Ocean Ecology


Metro Wetlands Restoration
Multnomah Channel Wetland Restoration Monitoring Project
The Multnomah Channel Wetland Restoration Monitoring Project characterizes wetlands use by juvenile salmonids and other fishes in the Multnomah Channel Marsh Natural Area (MCMNA) and nearby habitats of the Columbia River estuary. The project is a collaborative program by federal, state, and municipal organizations evaluating the ecological effectiveness of floodplain restoration actions at the MCMNA on behalf of at-risk juvenile salmonids. The project uses a wide range of sampling methods to document fish, invertebrate prey, vegetation, and physical habitat conditions and to experimentally assess salmon performance. Sampling methods include: PIT arrays and remote detection systems to monitor salmon access, residency, and movements to and from the wetland; experimental net pens to compare salmon food and relative growth potential within different vegetation types; beach seines, traps, PIT detectors, electro-shockers, and other gear to monitor fish abundance and salmon stock composition; and benthic cores, insect fallout traps, emergent traps, and neuston nets to determine invertebrate prey composition, abundance, and transport from the wetland site. Fish samples are also collected along the main-stem estuary, Multnomah Channel, and other wetlands to investigate the effects of river flow and water elevation on fish access to the MCMNA. Invertebrate and fish stomach samples are analyzed at the main campus of Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) and at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Corvallis Research Laboratory. Other activities, vessels, and sampling equipment are staged from the Pt. Adams Research Station in Hammond, OR.

Research Themes

Habitats to support sustainable fisheries and recovered populations
Healthy oceans, coastal waters, and riverine habitats provide the foundation for aquatic resources used by a diversity of species and society. Protecting marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems that support these species relies on science to link habitat condition/processes and the biological effects of restoration actions. The NWFSC provides the habitat science behind many management actions taken by NOAA Fisheries and other natural resource agencies to protect and recover aquatic ecosystems and living marine resources. The NWFSC also maintains a longstanding focus on toxic chemical contaminants, as a foundation for regional and national research on pollution threats to fisheries and protected resources.

Research Foci

Characterize relationships between habitat and ecosystem processes, climate variation, and the viability of organisms
Developing effective conservation and restoration strategies for species or populations requires a clear understanding of how ecosystem processes and climate change will influence the viability of organisms in the future. Key research needs include (1) evaluating the vulnerability of organisms and ecosystems to climate change and human impacts (e.g., fishing, pollution, land use), and (2) devising adaptation strategies that will help achieve conservation goals despite climate change and increasing human pressures. Understanding how climate change or trends in human impacts might influence organisms is based on an understanding of linkages between ecosystem processes, habitat conditions, and abundance, survival or demographics of organisms. This necessitates modeling influences of ecosystem processes on habitats and species, or developing models to examine influences of human pressures on population or ecosystem dynamics. With this foundation, vulnerability assessments can focus on understanding how interactions between climate change and human impacts influence vulnerability of species or populations. Adaptation strategies require knowledge of current conservation needs, predictions of how those needs might change as a result of climate change or future human impacts, and assessments of the robustness of alternative conservation strategies or techniques to climate trends.
Develop effective and efficient habitat restoration and conservation techniques
Maintaining and re-establishing viability and sustainability of living marine resources requires conservation and rehabilitation or restoration of habitats upon which species depend. Common habitat restoration approaches and tech-niques often presume that habitats are static features of the environment, and that creation of stable habitats is a desirable restoration strategy. However, riverine, nearshore, and marine habitats are created and sustained by dynamic landscape, climatic, and oceanographic processes and biota are adapted to changing habitats that are within the range of natural variability. Hence, current restoration strategies often have limited success, in part because they fail to recognize larger scale processes that drive habitat change, and in part because they fail to recognize intrinsic habitat potential of individual restoration sites. The main goals of this research focus are to: improve understanding of how large-scale processes create diverse and dynamic habitats that support marine and anadromous species, better understand how human activities alter habitat-forming processes and habitats, develop new restoration techniques that are compatible with sustainable habitat-forming processes, and understand the variety of actions needed to adequately conserve intact critical habitats. In addition, NWFSC’s research will improve understanding of how new and existing habitat restoration and protection techniques affect fish and habitat at multiple scales (i.e., reach, watershed, Evolutionarily Significant Unit).


Columbia River estuary
Columbia River estuary
habitat restoration


Multnomah Channel Wetland Restoration Monitoring Project 2014 Annual Report
Joint report authored by NOAA and ODFW submitted to Metro
Restoring the Columbia River Estuary: Chinook Salmon Recovery and Invasive Species Management
Klopfenstein, R. 2016. Restoring the Columbia River Estuary: Chinook Salmon Recovery and Invasive Species Management. M.S. Thesis. Oregon State University. 125 pp.
ultnomah Channel Wetland Restoration Monitoring Project Final Report
Joint report authored by NOAA and ODFW submitted to Metro


Species Oncorhynchus kisutch
Coho salmon, silver salmon
Species Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook salmon, king salmon, spring salmon


Daniel Bottom
Internal Collaborator
Regan McNatt
Principal Investigator
Susan Hinton
Internal Collaborator